50 Shades of Blob

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SPOILERS CONTAINED WITHIN

When I was growing up in Ontario in the 1970s we had a pretty restrictive film board that censored adult films. They cut any scenes of erection or penetration. Luckily, back in those days, most porn films had some story line. If such censorship were in place today porn films would be about 10 minutes long. I’ve often been curious as to WHO was doing the censoring. Were there edit suites somewhere in a basement in Ottawa or Toronto that spent day and night cutting scenes from videos?

This heavily censorship only served to increase the curiosity about sex. Mystique is enticing and exciting.

So, last night we went to see ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ here in Japan. The book has received so much negative chatter about it’s horrible writing that I was expecting a disaster. Yes, I knew all about it’s Twilight background (for the record: I loved the Twilight books. Go sue me.)

But I did not see the same film as many of you would see. Here in Japan the film is censored.

In Japan, you can go to a movie about sex, and hear people talk about anal fisting (!) but you cannot see pubic hair.

During the sex scenes a large black (grey, ha ha!) dot appears on screen. I do not know what it was obscuring. In some cases public hair, though on occasion we saw some (ooooo!) so I am mystified.

Something like this

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Though my favourite one was the one where, because of the angle, it also blocked out Christian’s head. Something like this.

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Luckily, the risk to society was minimal because there were 10 people in the screening. This was 2 days after the film opened, at an evening showing on a Sunday night. 10 people. (1 walked out by the way). Now, I am used to going to daytime screenings here in Japan where there are maybe 5 of us (for Gone Girl there were 3 of us in the audience). But at night? 2 days after opening? Oh dear.

This points to a problem with the film – people here in Japan are very interested in it, but too embarrassed to go out and see it. So maybe it will be a hit on video?

But back to the writing. What these columns that eschew the writing style perhaps ignore is that the STORY is captivating people despite the atrocious gutting of the English language.

The film itself was not bad. Of course there are blatantly stupid things about it.

A) The names. Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. Seriously?

B) Exactly how does one amass billions by 27? It doesn’t seem to come from the family. I haven’t read the book, so I have absolutely no idea what his company does (apart from keeping supermodels employed as secretaries). If he didn’t have billions I don’t think Anastasia would have entertained the thought of being strung up and whipped by him for a second, though I’d be very curious to see someone do a version of this that explored a poor Christian! But by having billions it removes a lot of conflict – let’s face it, with lots of money almost all obstacles are overcome.

C) Timeline. Ok, so he was a submissive until 21. He’s 27 now. He has had 15 sub women. And he went to university. How did he do all that? I mean, logistically it sounds impossible!

D) He sucks at negotiating contracts, putting point B into further doubt!

E) His apartment is surrounded by other apartments and is completely windows. How are there not pictures of this guy and his women all over the internet?

There were some good things about the film and in general I recommend it. But, I’d rather watch Grand Budapest Hotel again.

 

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Phil Smy

I am currently a student in the Raindance Film Degree Masters program. This site comes from the research I am doing as I learn more about film production and distribution.

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